Story Ideas - Story Starters

On this page, you'll find story ideas based on major life changes, such as a new career, a new baby, a retirement, or a divorce. You can find more story ideas at the bottom of the page.

When people's lives dramatically change, for better or for worse, there are always surprises and challenges. This makes for interesting story material.

The way people react to changes can be very revealing. By forcing your character to confront unfamiliar circumstances, you give him or her the opportunity to evolve.

Your character might evolve in positive ways -- gaining maturity and strength. Or, like Walter White in the TV series Breaking Bad (a chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin), your character might evolve in negative ways, becoming morally corrupted by his/her new experiences.

Here are some ideas you can turn into stories:

1) After an argument with his/her boss, your character decides to leave a highly paid job in order to become a full-time artist.

2) Your character was widowed many years ago. Now, s/he decides s/he's finally ready to start dating again. But s/he hasn't been on a date for over forty years!

3) Your character is in his/her late teens and living in his/her parents' home. One day, his/her parents sit him/her down and say that they've decided it's time for him/her to become independent. They inform him/her that s/he has to move out by the end of the month and that they're also cutting him/her off financially.

4) Your character is unmarried and lives alone... until his/her brother and sister-in-law are suddenly killed in a car accident... and your character is given custody of their four children.

5) Your character moves to a different country (you could use a country you're interested in researching as either your character's starting point or his/her destination).

6) Your character wins the lottery.


Think about what kind of character it would be interesting to put in the situation you've chosen. Try to choose a character who will find the situation especially challenging.

Other questions to think about:

  • How does your character imagine his/her new life ahead of time? How might the reality be completely different from what your character was expecting? What mistakes might your character make based on wrong assumptions?

  • What challenges are inherent in the change? What aspects of the new situation will your character have the hardest time adapting to? What are some elements that you could add to the story to make the change more difficult for your character (and therefore make your story more interesting)?

  • What strengths and weaknesses of your character might the change bring out?

  • How might your character evolve as a person?

  • How might the people around your main character react to the changes? Who might be personally affected by what your character does? Who might judge your character for his/her actions/reactions? Who might feel jealous? Who might feel concerned? Who might give your character terrible advice?

Happy writing!

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